Kentucky Loses Captive Bald Eagle After More Than 20 Years


Mar 11, 2001
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Kentucky Loses Captive Bald Eagle After More Than 20 Years


Frankfort, Kentucky - Officials with the Salato Wildlife Education Center reported today the loss of one of its long-term residents and most popular exhibit animals. The center's female bald eagle, which had been on display for more than 20 years, was estimated to be at least 25 years old.

The eagle was found Sunday afternoon in a weakened condition, unable to rise, and unable to move one foot. She had been eating and behaving normally until then. Despite the best efforts of Salato staff, she did not recover. There was no sign of injury.

Following protocol, the bird was taken to the University of Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center for a necropsy to determine the cause of death. From there, the eagle will be sent to the National Eagle Repository in compliance with federal law.

In the wild, bald eagles can live for 30 years, but the average lifespan for a healthy bird is closer to 20. Though otherwise healthy, this eagle had lived with a permanent injury to her wing that prevented flight and limited normal activity.

"She was a wonderful exhibit animal," said Salato Center Director Laurie Davison. "She never seemed bothered by the public. She was always visible, often very vocal, and our visitors loved her. She will definitely be missed."

A second bald eagle remains on exhibit at the Salato Center, as do bobcats, elk, bison, deer, a black bear and many more native animals.

Learn more about the Salato Center on the Internet at The facility is located at the department's headquarters on U.S. 60 in Frankfort, 1.5 miles west of U.S. 127. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. The Center is closed Sundays, Mondays and state holidays.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources manages, regulates, enforces and promotes responsible use of all fish and wildlife species, their habitats, public wildlife areas and waterways for the benefit of those resources and for public enjoyment. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife is an agency of the Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet. For more information on the department, visit our web site at

Laurie Davison (800) 858-1549 ext. 4407
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